December 27, 2016
The money changer’s return was a miserable affair. When he fled two years ago he left behind a rich man’s home; an expansive villa on the south side of Bashiqa, complete with an attractive stone-flagged patio and pillared balcony. In his rush to escape the ISIS advance he left 16 million Iraqi dinars — nearly $19,000 — in a hidden safe.
Islamic State fighters liked his home too. They converted it into a bomb factory which, in turn, was bombed by coalition aircraft as Kurdish Peshmerga troops recaptured Bashiqa last month.
So when Jalal Khaled Juma came back to the house after his two-year displacement in northern Iraq, he met a scene of menace and ruin.